WESFARMERS remains tight-lipped about the future of the Bathurst Target outlet after announcing a massive restructure of its department stores business on Friday.
Up to 40 of the group's large format Target stores will be converted to Kmarts, subject to landlord support, with between 10 and 25 stores to close permanently.
Wesfarmers will also convert about 52 Target Country stores to small format Kmart stores; close the remaining 50 Target Country stores which are not suitable for conversion to Kmart; and significantly cut the size of the Target store support office.
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There has been no confirmation yet from Wesfarmers about which stores will be impacted but a spokesperson told the Western Advocate the company would work to redeploy all affected staff members.
"During this difficult time, we are committed to supporting our team," the spokesperson said.
"Across the Kmart Group we have made a significant effort to avoid store closures and retain our people and for impacted store team members we have the benefit of time to help find alternative employment opportunities.
"All team members in Target stores scheduled for conversion to Kmart will be offered the opportunity to join the growing Kmart team. For other affected Target team members, we will work with them to identify and offer other redeployment opportunities in Kmart, Catch, Bunnings and Officeworks as these businesses continue to grow."
In a statement released to the media on Friday, Wesfarmers managing director Rob Scott said the changes would both boost the position of its Kmart Group and improve the financial viability of Target.
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"For some time now, the retail sector has seen significant structural change and disruption, and we expect this trend to continue," Mr Scott said.
"With the exception of Target, Wesfarmers' retail businesses are well-positioned to respond to the changes in consumer behaviour and competition associated with this disruption.
"The actions announced reflect our continued focus on investing in Kmart, a business with a compelling customer offer and strong competitive advantages, while also improving the viability of Target by addressing some of its structural challenges by simplifying the business model."
Target runs a national network of more than 200 stores, including outlets in Bathurst, Dubbo, Mudgee, Lithgow, Parkes, Forbes and Cowra. Those stores survived the last round of closures announced last year but staff again face an uncertain future.
Bathurst Target is a key tenant in the Armada shopping centre.